Importance of Theatre In the World and Why Is It a Lost Art?

Before we discuss what is lost. It is important to know what it is and what its impact is, in this article, we will do exactly that. Trying to understand the concept first is very important then only we will know why it’s called an “Art”. 

So let’s get into it, shall we? 

What is Theatre? 

A theatre is a place in which a play is performed. If we trace the word back to its Greek origins it literally means, “The Seeing Place”. 

It can be big or small, indoors or outdoors, purpose-built or just borrowed. Sometimes plays are performed in spaces that aren’t theatres at all - in a park or a parking lot, on a sidewalk, or in a private home. 

Theatre also refers to the performance of plays and the body of literature and other documentation that has accompanied it.

Theatre is a deliberate performance created by live actors and intended for a live audience, typically making use of scripted language. 

Types of Theatre 

Political Theatre- There are a lot of plays in the theatre where political agenda has been depicted relating to political issues, we can even find there is a street theatre where the actors play their characters without a stage and for a live street audience. The main purpose is to send a message to the audience regarding the political conditions of the state. 

Religious Theatre/ Mythological Theatre- Religion has always been the main factor. Thus there are a lot of plays written and played by the actors in the theatre regarding religious beliefs. 

Now Mythological and religious theatre are two sides of the same coin. Mythological theatre is pretty much based on religious beliefs and supernatural stories. Audiences from centuries loved these mythological plays in the theatre. So many emotions, meanings, ideologies, and perspectives are understood by watching them in a live theatre. 

Social Theatre- As the sub-heading implies “social”, it naturally means that theatre which are related to social issues or where social issues standpoints are depicted by the actors in the theatre is called social theatre. Naturally one can assume that topics such as caste, Color, creed, religion, equality, etc, are incorporated into these scripts of the play. The actors play these to the live audience to get their social messages out there so that it benefits society in some way. 

Literature Theatre- Now we come to the most important sub-point “literature”, literature plays a vital role in theatre. People call theatre an art because of literature. So much great literature is based on plays written for theatre.

Let’s discuss the various components we get from literature theatre:- Tragedy- Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a good example of tragedy in literature. The heartbreaking last scene is indeed a tragedy where Romeo and Juliet couldn’t get their happy ending. The audience experiences such mixed emotions of sadness and love from watching it live in a theatre. 

Comedy- Bernard Shaw’s, “Arms and the man” is a great example of a comedy play. Bernard Shaw is mocking the concept of glorification of war and romanticization of love. He reasons with the practicality of his characters. Here the audience finds the characters very funny, thus it results in giving the people a lot of joy and a realistic environment of social causes. 

Drama- Drama is another vital component of a play. This component rates the performance of the actor in the theatre. Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”, famous dialogue “A pound of flesh” said by the character Shylock, has set the scene in dramatic events, which makes the audience go in awe. 

Musical Theatre- Theatre and music have always been closely intertwined. Greek tragedies were mostly sung and danced Liturgical dramas had key musical components. Melodrama was originally a musical form. And most styles of traveling or folk theatre were strongly musical- not to mention the nineteenth-century rise of the opera - and pretty much every style of Asian theatre we have studied. 

Impact of Theatre on society 

1. Confidence and Public speaking- Artists who do theatre gains a great level of self-confidence and deliver dialogues to the audiences perfectly. 

2. Acting- Actors gain immense skill from theatre, it is genuinely always       pointed out that the actors who come from the theatre are better actors than in the movies. Performing live is not a joke. One has to be flawless to do it, one has to improvise at that moment if something goes wrong to keep the show going. Real talents are born because of theatre. 

3. Playwriting- Writing a script is not an easy task. One has to take a lot of factors into account while writing a play, such as an audience mentality, perspective, psychology, social message, education of the audience, etc. 

4. Directing and Managing- A lot of teamwork goes into theatre, it isn’t an easy task to manage so many people. So the responsibility is equally divided among people. The skills people will learn here will benefit them forever. 

Now let’s come to the real question, “Why is theatre a lost art?”, it is because nowadays people are more into movies, they either go to the movie halls and watch movies or they watch them at home. You see, movies are components of theatre only but the difference is that theatre is live. 

A theatre is an art form that is old yet very unique. Nowadays people have also forgotten the art of writing plays for the theatre. Many fewer people in this generation have not even been to a theatre, naturally, the idea of theatre is very different, and they opt for movies instead. It is a dying art form now. 

People have forgotten the art form which is laid down for us for centuries. Their perspectives have changed, they think of theatre as loud and a lot of melodrama, and there is a risk of a negative outlook because of the mentality of the changing times. 

People don’t realize anymore how many benefits they will get from doing theatre, the skills and efficiency they will learn, and the responsibilities that they’ll take could shape them for the future. 

Most importantly, theatre is called an art because the performance on the stage can move something in us, can make us understand so many important things in our lives, the meaning, the message, the emotions, it goes to our heart. And our heart becomes content.

I sincerely believe if it’s in our hands to save this art form from dying then we should do it already, our great life-changing literature plays and famous works all around the world are dependent on it. 

Written by - Rumela Gupta

Edited by - Kritika Sharma

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